Boots has announced that its famous 70% off sale will kick off on Friday. It's a major date in the diary for bargain hunters, many of whom say they buy all their toiletries in the sale and stockpile them for the year. In fact, it was pressure from angry bargain-hunters that forced Boots to come clean about the date of the sale.
Like most other major high street names, Boots has been running a sale since Christmas, with up to 50% off selected items. These offer some great deals, but avid bargain-hunters know that this isn't the Boots sale to get excited about - that one hits around the middle of January, with huge savings of up to 70% off.
Rumours started ahead of Wednesday 11th January, with the Money Saving Expert website pointing out that for five of the past eight years, Boots has started its sale on the third Wednesday after Christmas - which would have been 11th January. Rumours then started on the forum that people had spotted signage tucked away in stores, and seen signs of an impending switch to massive savings as staff moved sale goods around in store.
However, that date came and went, and there were no further reductions.
Bargain hunters then pointed out that for the other three years it started on the fourth Wednesday after Christmas, so the 18th was in the frame. Martin Lewis even told the This Morning programme that this was the likely date.
According to deal hunting site Latestdeals.co.uk, many bargain-hunters stayed up until midnight to be sure of getting the deals before they sold out. However, this date also came and went, and again no mega-sale materialised, so they took to the forum to complain.
Colepaula, a forum poster, said: "Been up all night, not happy! They should let people know sooner... Getting fed up now... Been every year and never known this. Lots of us spend money in Boots all year round sometimes lots of money, they could just give us a little something back!" Lex74 agreed: "Second week I've wasted being up waiting for any sign of the 70% off sale."
Perhaps the most distressed was Sam17, who added: "I took today off work as holiday for this. Not happy."
One bargain hunter, Penny Smith, contacted the Boots social media page to complain, after waiting outside the Bluewater branch to be first through the door when it opened - only to discover the sale hadn't started after-all.
Several people also contacted Boots on social media, demanding to know when the 70% sale would kick off, but were met with either silence, or a firm insistence that this wasn't the kind of thing Boots would disclose. Just hours before the official announcement, Boots posted: "We are indeed receiving a lot of questions about this. Sadly nothing has been announced yet along these lines."
Finally, on Wednesday afternoon, Boots relented, and admitted that the sale will start on Friday morning. The deals online will remain the same - with savings of up to 50% off. However, in store there will be savings of up to 75%.
You can expect this to be a popular sale, so if you're keen to grab a bargain, it pays to go early, with a clear idea of what you are after, and be prepared for anything between a sizeable queue at the till to a proper scrum.
Supermarket shopping mistakes
Supermarket shopping mistakes
The supermarkets invest in enormous shopping trolleys, and then put bulky special offers by the door - like packs of beer or enormous cereal boxes.
The idea is to tempt you into taking a big trolley, because tests have shown that it’s likely to make us buy more. Martin Lindstrom, author of Brandwashed, found that by doubling the size of trolleys, customers would buy 19% more.
This is a disaster for a couple of reasons. The first is that you’ll end up buying things you don’t need - because you already have plenty in the fridge or the cupboard. You’d be surprised how many people come home with tomatoes every week, then throw out the ones that have gone rotten in the fridge. They'll do this every single week without ever spotting that they don’t eat as many tomatoes as they think they do.
The other problem is that you’ll end up forgetting things, and have to go back to the store, which will leave you susceptible to the next common mistake.
Apparently we’re giving up the weekly grocery shop in favour of a number of trips to different stores to pick up bargains.
If you do this right, it can be a great way to save. However, if you don’t plan it properly, you’re just giving yourself more opportunities to buy on impulse.
In the book ‘America’s Cheapest Family’ the authors claim that more than 50% of what we buy in store is on impulse. The authors actually only go to the supermarket once a month to cut back on impulse purchases.
If you browse at eye-level using your peripheral vision, that’s where you’ll find the expensive brands.
Look around at the top and bottom of the shelves for the own-brand versions or the cheaper brands - and try out the cheaper versions of your usual shopping.
Aside from Christmas, stores will play quiet and relaxing music, with a slow tempo. This is designed to make you shop more slowly, and take the time to spot the impulse buys.
If you put headphones on and play something with a faster tempo (it doesn't have to be any particular type of music), then you’ll pick up the tempo, and studies have shown you’ll buy around 29% less.
On the one hand, if you do the maths, you might find that buying a larger pack means that each packet of crisps or can of coke costs less. However, Vestcom, a retail services company, has found that when we buy bigger packets, we consume more.
It means that when you’re buying things like toilet rolls and washing powder, straightforward maths will tell you the cheapest size to buy. When it comes to crisps and drinks, consider carefully whether you will just end up eating and drinking more.
Sometimes that big red sticker is a great discount on something you need: usually its not.
Don’t let special offers tempt you into buying things you don’t need, and don't assume that anything with a big red sticker is a bargain. It’s worth taking your receipt from your previous shop with you when you go shopping, so you can easily compare whether the new price is a good discount or not.
The end of the aisle gets more of our attention, because it's where we need to turn the trolley, so we’re going slower.
However, this isn’t always where the stores put the incredible bargains. They often sell these positions to companies trying to promote a particular product. When the company has the budget to spend on this sort of promotion, it means they may not necessarily be the cheapest option.
If your cheese has been grated, your salad washed, or your carrots chopped, then you’ll pay the price for it.
Not only will you pay significantly more for your shopping, but in many cases you'll get an inferior product too. Grated cheese has additives to stop it sticking, for example, while bagged salad will go brown significantly faster than a head of lettuce.
Frozen food is often far cheaper, so people assume it’s likely to be inferior. However, the fresh fish at the counter has often been frozen, so you’re gaining nothing for paying more here - in fact you're losing out because you have to use it up more quickly.
The other things that are well worth considering are frozen vegetables. These are much cheaper than fresh vegetables, and are often frozen at the peak of their freshness, so are better for you too.